Australian Open 2022: Salvatore Caruso gets 'lucky loser' late call to replace Novak Djokovic
Little-known Italian has never gone beyond the third round at the Australian Open, but he was given an unexpected chance to do better Sunday as a late replacement for Djokovic.
Melbourne: Little-known Italian Salvatore Caruso has never gone beyond the third round at the Australian Open, but he was given an unexpected chance to do better Sunday as a late replacement for Novak Djokovic.
The Serbian world number one's omission after losing his sensational legal battle over his coronavirus vaccination status opened the door for a "lucky loser" from qualifying to step up and take his place.
That fell to Caruso, a 29-year-old ranked 150 in the world who a week ago was beaten in the semi-finals of a lower-tier tournament in Bendigo, outside Melbourne.
But while Djokovic had been scheduled to get the full prime-time Rod Laver Arena experience on Monday against Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic, Caruso will miss out playing on the main show court.
With the nine-time Australian Open champion now out of the tournament, world number three Alexander Zverev's clash against Daniel Altmaier will instead feature as the second match of the evening session on Rod Laver Arena with Caruso facing Kecmanovic on an outside court.
Carlos Alcaraz became the youngest player since the start of the ATP Tour in 1990 to beat three top-five players at the same event.
Rafael Nadal, who turns 36 on 3 June, is playing his final warm-up in Rome this week before attempting to add to his record total of 13 French Open titles.
Djokovic, who is in his record-extending 369th week at World No 1, must reach at least the semi-finals in Rome to hold onto the number one spot.